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Erie Art Museum Opens Dichroic Color, Light and Space Sculpture by Ray Howlett

Opening Reception and Gallery Talk Scheduled for June 29

Erie, PA, June 28, 2007 --( The Erie Art Museum opens Dichroic Color, Light and Space Sculpture by Ray Howlett today, Friday, June 29 with a public opening reception from 7-10 p.m. and a artist gallery talk at 8 p.m. at the Erie Art Museum’s Main Gallery, 411 State Street.

About the Exhibit
The illuminated glass sculptures of Ray Howlett have to be seen to be believed. According to Howlett, his sculptures don’t translate well into photographs, which is why he takes the trouble to bring them “in person” to interested collectors and exhibitors. The reason for this lies in the nature of his chosen material, dichroic glass.

Dichroic glass is manufactured by vaporizing metal oxides in a vacuum chamber and depositing them on glass, where they form a layer only a few millionths of an inch thick. This thin layer has the ability to interfere with select frequencies of light, producing some remarkable effects. For instance, the glass can act as a filter, allowing some colors of light to pass through while refusing the other colors of the spectrum, which are reflected back towards the light source. This makes dichroic glass useful as lasers and theater lighting, since the particular mix of colors allowed to shine through can be precisely tuned during the manufacturing process.

Another related property of dichroic glass is its ability to reflect different colors according to the viewing angle, just as a soap bubble on a summer’s day can appear purple, gold or green as it floats through the air.

Despite the high-tech nature of his materials, the effect of the exhibit is less that of a science fair than a mystical experience, as the viewer moves through a darkened room filled with rich, constantly moving colors and their infinite reflections. This is an exhibit that will dazzle the young and old alike, a brilliant light show with philosophical overtones.

For a preview, visit

About the Gallery Talk
Howlett will lead a Gallery Talk on Friday, June 29 at 8 p.m. in the Erie Art Museum’s Main Gallery, 411 State Street. Howlett was present at the inception of a new American art movement, dichroism. Beginning in California in the 1970’s, artists have been creating dazzling works of art that take advantage of this new technology, which utilizes ultra-thin dielectric coatings on glass in order to create pure vivid color through light interference. Howlett will explain how he became involved with this new medium, and the challenges and rewards of working with dichroic glass. Visitors will also have the opportunity to hear more about the technical details, history, and everyday uses of this space-age material, as well as the sources of Howlett’s inspiration for his unique style, ranging from mysticism and infinity to structuralism and the fourth dimension.

About the Erie Art Museum
The Erie Art Museum anchors downtown Erie’s cultural and economic revitalization, occupying a group of restored mid-19th century commercial buildings, including an outstanding 1839 Greek Revival Bank. It maintains an ambitious program of 15 to 18 changing exhibitions annually, embracing a wide range of subjects, both historical and contemporary and including folk art, contemporary craft, multi-disciplinary installations, community-based work, as well at traditional media.

The Erie Art Museum also holds a collection of over 5,500 objects, which includes significant works in American ceramics, Tibetan painting, Indian bronzes, contemporary baskets, and a variety of other categories.

The Museum offers a wide range of education programs and artists’ services including interdisciplinary and interactive school tours and a wide variety of classes for the community. Performing arts are showcased in the 24-year-old Contemporary Music Series, which represents national and international performers of serious music with an emphasis on composer/performers, and a popular annual two-day Blues & Jazz festival.

The Erie Art Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. Admission is free for members, free on Wednesdays, $4 for adults, $3 for senior citizens and students and $2 for children under 12.

For additional information on the Erie Art Museum, visit online at or call (814) 459-5477.

Contact Information
Erie Art Museum
Tammy Roche

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